As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watched the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, a woman member broke down and a few others criticised the UPA’s economic policy. Some members criticised the linking of Aadhaar to social benefits but most members valued their experience in the upper house and said they would carry it through their life as ex-MPs.
The occasion was to bid farewell to 54 retiring members including Shivanand Tiwari, N.K. Singh, (both JD-U), Prakash Javdekar (BJP) Janardhan Waghmare (NCP), Prabha Thakur, G.K. Vasan, Alka Balram Kshatriya (all Congress), Renubala Pradhan (BJD), B.P. Baishya (AGP), T.K. Rangarajan, Prasanta Chatterjee, Shyamal Chakraborty (all CPI-M) and Barun Mukherjee (AIFB) among others. Of the 54 members, 15 have been re-elected.
Bidding farewell to the retiring members, Dr. Singh said: “As I listened to various members I do get the feeling that regardless of caste, creed and political affiliations something unites us... it is our ‘Indian-ness’ that keeps us together.’’
“I am happy to note that some of the members have been re-elected, but the House will certainly miss those who would not be coming back,” Chairman Hamid Ansari had said earlier.
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley observed that there may be political differences but at the individual level there was bonhomie.
Member breaks down
There was stunned silence as DMK member Vasanthi Stanley began her farewell speech with a Tamil song which she said was a famous goodbye song in Tamil Nadu. And then, while speaking she broke down again and again as she recalled that when she had entered the House six years ago her husband was alive and as she is leaving he is no more.